27 October 2008

From the Comments Book

The exhibition of the Map of Connections 2.0 and the Map of Encounters 1.0 is now over. A few days ago I went in and painted over the maps with a few coats of white emulsion. Thank you to everyone who visited.

Below, some remarks from the comments book followed by my replies:

“Makes you think different about Ireland and Northern Ireland,” Christopher.
“Some very interesting observations with attractive patterns emerging,” Helen.
“[ … ] place names on the photos would have been informative. Desmond.
“[ … ] Love to hear more about ‘unfriendly’ encounters and where the border gets lost,” Dan.
“Nice work, would love an excuse to explore Ireland this way, [ … ]” Miriam.
“Super duper,” Laura.

Yes, Miriam, I suggest you find that excuse. I suppose it is a part and privilege of artistic practice to go to places people normally do not. Nobody really visits the Border and that might be reason enough to go. Moreover, sections go through memorable country. The bogland north of Lough Derg and around Cuilcagh Mountain had a particular desolate beauty.

Dan, you raise a good point. I did include the vandalism of my car on The Map of Encounters but that is the only negative featured. (The stone pinned to the image, by the way, is the actual stone thrown. Not a stand in stone.) I went on my walks in a generally positive frame of mind and I suspect I was more alive to friendly, or natural, encounters. If I was not in a positive state of mind I probably would have gone home. I attempted to travel wide-eyed, as if seeing everything for the first time. This maybe preserved in the innocent atmosphere of the Map of Encounters. I feel both The Map of Encounters and The Map of Connections are attempts at a progressive, inclusive, and some how optimistic, cartography.

As for the Border getting lost, I am not sure it does. Although I certain got lost from it a few times. Several times I realised that, after half an hour, I was following the wrong hedgerow or ditch.

Desmond, your suggestion of adding place names to Map of Connections is something I am considering. Not to the photographs but perhaps to the map itself. I do want people to be able to engage with the map rapidly and not just find it puzzling. I like it that Helen found “attractive patterns emerging” but if that is the only level the work reached viewers then I may need to add traditional and ready-readable cartographical signs.

Thank you to everyone who commented.

11 October 2008

Belfast Exhibition

If you’re in Belfast in the next couple of weeks you can see, painted on the walls of PS squared, two of my maps. We had an opening night on Thursday and I hope everybody had a good time. Instead of fancy finger food I prepared samples of my typical Border trekking provisions: mackerel sandwiches, cheap bourbon creams, and bananas. “There’s great energy in a banana,” an Armagh farmer said to me, while handing me a banana. The above photograph was taken from out on the street during the opening.

I painted the maps directly on the walls of the space. Please click through for a closer look. The Map of Connections 2.0:

The Map of Encounters 1.0:

Thank you to Peter, the curator of the space, for giving PS squared over to my work and for all his advice and encouragement.

PS squared, 18 Donegall Street, Belfast. Opening hours: Tuesday to Saturday, 1 – 5pm. 14 – 16 October, 1 – 9pm. 18 October, 10am – 6pm.